Integration and James Baldwin Essay

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Integration and Baldwin

Almost every person who has stepped foot in a college classroom has experienced ethnic diversity within the students in the room. This has not always been the case however. Up until 1954 blacks and whites attended different schools and weren’t allowed the same schooling opportunities. It took a young girl, Linda Brown, and her father, Oliver Brown, as well as many other courageous African American families to stand up to the old law of “separate but equal”, decided in the Plessy vs. Ferguson case in 1892, and fight for equal educational rights for whites and blacks. Even though the Supreme Court decided in favor of the Brown family in 1954, this did not mean that everyone was so eager to accept
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According to an article in the New York Times “there were about fifteen active pro-segregationist groups in the Southern and border states” (“Segregation Groups” 1). Although some people may not think that fifteen groups was that many, these groups were very strong and prominent groups. Mississippi alone had 60,000 members active in the Citizens Council, the biggest of the pro-segregationist groups, which was also a very prominent group in Alabama, Louisiana, and South Carolina. Some of the other groups included the Federation for Constitutional Government, White Americans Inc., and the Defenders of State Sovereignty and Individual Liberties (“Segregation Groups” 1). This is very strong evidence that the South was not ready or was not willing to make the change to integrated schools and that it definitely may never be, thus giving Baldwin reason to doubt American good will.

Even ten years after the Brown vs. Brown case seven of the eleven southern states had not even put one percent of their black students into integrated schools (Rodgers 752). Right around this time a young man by the name of James Meredith was also pushing racial boundaries. In 1962 James Meredith broke the color barrier and became the first black student to ever attend the University of Mississippi. This was no easy task however. Meredith was escorted from Memphis to Oxford by U.S. military and then once he arrived at the University he was

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